If you were listening to what the West Vancouver Mayor Mary-Ann Booth had to say about the controversial Tantalus Gardens development proposal in Horseshoe Bay, you would have left with the impression that very few people in the entire community opposed the proposal on the former site of St. Monica’s Church.
This is what Mayor Booth told the community about the proposal at a recent council meeting: “It looks good to me… it has been from the beginning. I also commend the developer for working very hard to get out into the community. The data may not be perfect, but even if there are some errors in it, it is pretty compelling. I don’t think we have seen a proposal where the developer has worked so hard.”
She capped her praise of the developer with this false statement: “The council has actually received over a hundred letters of support and two letters of opposition. So, I am responding to the community by moving this forward.”
With the Mayor’s claims, it would make perfect sense for any councillor to wholeheartedly support the proposal. After all, there were just two letters of opposition.
Except there weren’t — the Mayor was grossly misrepresenting the community’s response to the development.
The Global Canadian has seen dozens of letters of opposition to the proposal since May when it first came before the council. A Horseshoe Bay resident claims he has counted nearly 100 letters of opposition to the proposal, not counting the community members who have appeared before the council.
So, why would Mayor Booth give the community a false impression of the opposition? It all comes down to the timing of the letters, if you believe the Mayor.
When we asked Mayor Booth about the misrepresentation, this is what Donna Powers, the director of community relations and communications, said: “On September 9, Mayor Booth was specifically referencing correspondence that had recently come to Mayor and council regarding the Tantalus Gardens proposal. From August 15 to September 7, council received over a hundred letters of support and only two letters of opposition.”
Powers didn’t say why the Mayor chose to disregard the letters the council received before August 15.
Powers said the Mayor acknowledged that she did not specify the time frame and that, without context, this information was incomplete.
“Earlier in the year, council heard from many residents who opposed the proposal. During the Horseshoe Bay Local Area Plan visioning process, thousands of inputs were received and few raised concerns regarding this proposal. Letters of support have also been received via the applicant,” Powers said.
There will be a public hearing on the project on October 8, which gives ample time to the Mayor and the council to go back and read what the community has to say on the proposal.